Built-in accessibility offers support to web authors
How should web authors with limited experience in accessibility be able to meet the legal requirements on web accessibility? Hundreds of thousands of authors need training, but wouldn’t it be better if most of it worked out automatically? That’s what we’re trying to achieve.
Following our success with the EU funded pilot project We4Authors, we keep working to achieve built-in accessibility in content management systems (CMS). The project FEAT (Features for accessibility through templates) is one of three succeeding projects of which Funka have the honour to carry out two (we are also leading the Cluster project). The idea behind FEAT is to design templates that can be used by web authors who are not experts in accessibility. When accessibility is built in from the start in the CMS templates, the chance that the results work for everyone will increase.
The majority of web authors are not having authoring as their main task. For these ‘off and on’ users, the demand for accessibility easily becomes a burden that few of them have the time to focus on. By developing templates that automatically generate accessible content we strive to help authors do the right thing from the beginning, thereby increasing accessibility in a very efficient way.
If we are to scale up accessibility on a level where it makes a difference for end users, we have to work smarter on a societal level, says Sara Kjellstrand, Research Strategist at Funka. We expect the FEAT project to have great impact in the whole of EU.
On a concrete level the project will generate templates with built-in features for accessibility by default as well as support for authors. Automatic functions can be a form editor generating adequate table headers from the start, so the author won’t have to worry about it. Support for authors can be default functions giving advices, where the simplest example may be: this image doesn’t have an alternative text, do you want to add it?
In this project the focus is EpiServer, one of the CMSs we chose to work with in the pilot project. Many authors within public sector are using EpiServer and when the project is over, they will have better conditions to comply with the Web Accessibility Directive.
We have worked to improve the accessibility in EpiServer since 2005, says Henrik Juhlin, back end Developer at Funka. It will be very exciting to focus on automated support that everyone will benefit from.
The results of the project will be available free of charge to all the EpiServer partners and clients worldwide, which makes it easier to spread the results of the project to many countries. Furthermore, developers of templates made for other tools can be inspired by these functions and use them in their CMSs.
Funding: European parliament
Period: March 2020 - July 2021
Budget: 147 125 EURO
In the third phase of the project, we are developing and testing the prototyped templates in an iterative way. User testing with web authors is made to ensure that the templates are user-friendly and actually help authors in creating accessible content. The results from the user tests will feed directly into the development process and as soon as a new version becomes available it will be resubmitted for further user tests.
To make sure the developed templates meet the needs of web authors and other stakeholders, a set of selection criteria have been chosen. The result is a prioiritised list of templates to prototype and test.
As in all Funka’s work, the views, needs and requirements of the users are important. Surveys, interviews and workshops are used to gather and analyse user needs form different stakeholders.
Learn about the latest news about the project and upcoming events via our hashtag #WE4AuthorsFEAT